Dunu Zen Pro iem Review - fuck me these are good

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by rhythmdevils, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    @rhythmdevils : which tips are you using? They look like spinfits but with a different color stem.

    Did you try fiting the Final E tips that come with it? It seems they can only go as far as the ring because they're quite tight. They still fit well this way so I don't think it's a problem, but I'm wondering if I should try to push them in more?
     
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  2. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I didn't try any of the stock tips, I always use these Penon tips, they're my favorite tips on the market I tried them all, and they're also dirt cheap. they fit well and sound great. They fit on the Zen Pro well when you push them slll the way down. I tried Azla tips and the Penon were much more clear sounding. Highly recommended to at least try them especially since they are so cheap.

    They unfortunately stopped selling the gray/back color. But if you email them, you can buy them from the manufacturer if you order like 30 pairs, which I just did so I have a lifetime supply :)
     
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  3. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Do they size like spinfit, or should I go up/down a size from my normal M?

    BTW I'm casually comparing these with the Solaris SE using my Bakoon HPA-21. The current mode output with the Zen Pro is phenomenal!
    I have to use the iFi IEMatch on the voltage output with both IEMs (there's also hiss with the Zen Pro), so I can only compare Solaris SE + IEMatch (voltage) to Zen Pro + IEMatch (voltage) or Zen Pro (current).
    By far, the later combination wins!
     
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  4. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Friend

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    First impressions with Yggdrasil A2 ->Phonitor E -> Dunu, or Iphone dongle with Penon Tips(I'm surprised I actually have some @rhythmdevils )

    They sound really good and the good thing is that they sound good out of even an iphone dongle. I was pleasantly surprised, though I feel this is a weakness. Tonality is almost spot on, no harsh spots other than siblance that it is just about at my limit in the upper mids.

    I think the surprising thing about these iems is that they have a tube-like quality from SS sources, so I would say people looking for a nice tube-like sound will love this iem. It has the nice body to the sound and has that contrasty metallic sheen, though it never gets out of hand. I can see why it can be compared to the Focal Clear because the sound is similar without having as much metallic timbre. That said with the pleasantness, the sound is a bit too relaxing and round... leading to the technical performance of the iem to not be as impressive. he incisiveness, and percussiveness, the agility of the iem is a bit missing for me. The sound is a bit damped, boomy and doesn't clear fast enough to hear all the micro details. I think i have to make a point to not to mix this up with clarity, as the sound is clear, but just doesn't resolve fast enough. This is done pleasantly, but seperation, pinpoint accuracy, and resolution of hearing all the ringing of piano strings, and quick pedal releases are a bit murky. This murkyness sort of hampers its ability to portray contrasting dynamics between instruments and parts of the instruments in complex passages, leading to an impression that dynamics are compressed within a range. I think this IEM has to be paired with faster, leaner sounding delta sigma chips, perhaps why rhythmdevil's shanling could work well. They do scale, but sadly, it doesn't really scale enough to take full advantage of say a Yggdrasil A2, phonitor E. For example when listening to Supernova 1 from Gonzalo Rubacala Trio, there is simply too much information missing. From the very opening with the piano strike, with a quick damping, then hearing all the individual notes of the chord decaying while being held, followed by a huge twack of the drum are lost. It simply can't touch the HD800, and shows me that it does scale, it cannot fully realize the potential of my chain.

    That said I would say they are technically good, but I wouldn't buy this iem solely based on technicalities. More impressions to come, but that's after about 10 minutes of skimming through tracks.

    Edit: These are opening up with burn-in. Will keep the driver working.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
  5. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I would say they size like Spinfit tips, but they come in packs of 3 pairs which costs $4, and you can choose the size of each pair, so you might as well buy a S M L pack to make sure you have the right size. I think from the pictures if you got the Blue/gray they would look gray from the outside.

    Interesting our impressions don't match that well, I was going to suggest a possible tip mismatch but you already have the good Penon tips! I don't hear a tubeyness to them I actually would like a bit more body I'm thinking of pairing them with a slightly warm source. And they sound really fast to me. But it's good to have different perspectives, I've already written enough about how they sound to me haha. :)
     
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  6. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Friend

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    I guess I was comparing them to the Jvc fd01 and hd800, which are on def the leaner side on body. I dont mean they sound like bloated. Its like good tubeyness vs hot strident thinness. My headphone chain works for the hd800 so it maybe tilted towards warmth already(Like I use unison because I need the extra warmth). I don't really trust apple music on the iphone even if I'm playing locally with converted ALAC files. Out of curiosity, I plugged then into my note 9 and they sound leaner/dead neutral, while the iphone is warmer. Regardless of the source, I think they sound fantastic in their variations. I guess I'm just nitpicking. It prob is the best iem in a long time, with no real weaknesses(BA timbre, wonky FR, lack of technicalities, cohesion problems, etc.) and a great price, esp for Black Friday. Maybe my expectations were too high hoping it would transcend iemness. Its just been a long time since returning to IEM land, and I couldn't brace myself for losing some details/soundstage since I've become used the resolution of the hd800.
     
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  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Yes, this makes sense to me. I didn't mean to say that the Zen Pro competes with headphones like the HD800 in terms of technicalities, and I did mention that I wasn't including soundstage in that comparison. I think they compete with full size headphones like the og Focal Clear, ZMF's, etc. But not HD800. I also prefer my modded orthos by a long ways. But these sound like very good electromagnetic drivers to me. Which usually sound mushy, but these don't to me at all. And in iems, electromagnetic driver usually means very peaky, including from what I've read of the FDX01, which I've avoided for fear of that upper midrange peak, which these don't have.

    It's actually more stressful writing a very positive review as I feel a lot of responsibility for people buying the product based on my review, whereas a critical review is saving people's money and there's less weight there personally. But I write reviews as I hear them, and I still stand by my impressions. Though I don't expect everyone to agree. I definitely could see some people wanting moar bass. I'm not a bashed though.

    I did just get another iem in for a loaner tour that will make bassheads very happy though.... :)
     
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  8. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    > I did just get another iem in for a loaner tour that will make bassheads very happy though.

    All we want is Andromeda-like technicalities, dynamic driver, killer detailed & powerful elevated bass that doesn't muddy the lower midrange, great build quality, MMCX connector, and $200 price point. Is that so much to ask?!?!?! ;-)
     
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  9. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    That is exactly what this iem is. Except the midrange beats the technical ability of the Andromeda by far. And the bass is :eek:
     
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  10. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    Breathing intensifies
     
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  11. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    I couldn't resist @rhythmdevils' glowing rec of this IEM (as well as similar impressions from a few others) and ordered a set from Amazon...I should have them by Monday...along with possibly the Moondrop Kato and my Oriolus Isabellae. Looking forward to comparing them all on my Shanling M8. Sounds like it will be interesting to hear the Zen Pro through the tube out on my Cayn n3Pro.
     
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  12. Boops

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    Apologies for the derail, but I started listening to this and it's really great. Any recommendations for other albums I should check out from him/them?
     
  13. Cellist88

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    @Boops the album inner voyage, and from there the track caravan?
     
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  14. Clemmaster

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    I think a Walmut X.3 / Phonitor X would be an excellent pairing for these. Assuming the Phonitor is quiet enough. I sold mine long ago, so I won’t be verifying this.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2021
  15. Cellist88

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    @Clemmaster, there is still some very low level hiss, but its low enough that it doesn't distract from the music. When you turn on a classical music/live recording, the noise floor from those recordings are usually louder. Its still not as dead quiet as the iphone dongle. maximum volume play out of a phonitor is like 9o clock or slightly above. That's already ear blasting loud on compressed pop. These are surprisingly more sensitive than the JVC Fd01s. If i use the Yggdrasil directly from the computer, I can hear machine hum when I move my wireless mouse.
     
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  16. Rockwell

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    C4AC4EF0-4654-46F3-BBD1-34B7384C6735.JPEG

    Received my Zen Pro earlier today and plugged them into my Shanling M8-- I've had just under 2 hours of ear time so far but to quote the esteemed @rhythmdevils, whose glowing rec of these IEMs played no small part in my purchasing them, "Fuck me these are good". I thought he was kidding in his assessment above, or at least exaggerating but no, these are some of the most perfectly balanced, exceedingly technical, dynamic, clear, detailed & spacious IEMs I've ever heard-- and the timbre is excellent. I never fully understood the appeal of neutral tuning until I heard these-- they are just so fun, engaging & satisfying to listen to and yet effortlessly technical, transparent and precise in their presentation. I often classify IEMs as veering more towards an analytic (technical, detailed, precise) sound vs. a more fun & emotional sound. The Zen Pro strike as perfect a balance between those two qualities as any I have heard-- there is no excess and everything is represented perfectly. In fact it's only as I sit here writing this that it occurs to me that the name "Zen" is perfectly apt for these IEMs. Stage is not massive but fathomlessly deep and so detailed. Imaging is superb. The Zen Pro is technical enough to satisfy those who usually pursue BA driven sets and the timbre is natural, thick and engaging enough for those of us who usually default towards DD sound for this very reason. I was a little worried about bass given the assessment above but through the Shanling M8 the bass is beyond excellent. All in all I am very satisfied with the purchase-- thank-you @rhythmdevils for putting these on my radar.

    Edit: some more impressions

    The Zen Pro are insanely good...I'm floored actually. As a rule the IEMs I gravitate towards aren't defined by their technical chops and I often wind up explaining myself in terms like "well I prefer timbre over tecnhnicalities anyway". The Zen Pro is remarkable in its ability (for an IEM) to provide both bodied, natural DD timbre as well as, not just technicalities that "get the job done" but mind blowing technicalities. I had no idea a single DD in IEMs could image & stage like this-- it's so deep and vividly and precise. Vocals are un-veiled, sibilance free and naturally seductive-- and the FR is smooth from top to bottom. No fatigue, no peaks or pressure points. I've never heard a single DD this consistently good across the FR. Top all of that off with magnificent single DD coherence and it's and incredible package.

    Edit 2:

    These definitely benefit from a warm source to my ears. Through my M8 they are perfect but through the AKSR25ii the Zen Pro comes off a touch more aggressive in the upper registers.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 7, 2021
  17. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Awesome @Rockwell ! Now you just need to get the Penon tips I linked to (I could send you a pack for free if shipping is an issue to Canada)

    and this Lunashops cable (ask them to add an ear hook) :)
     
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  18. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    I'll look into those-- my ears are very finicky with tips. I love trying new ones though. Right now I'm using Sednafit Crysals to great effect.
     
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  19. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    Received my Dunu Zen Pro yesterday. Hooked it up to my break in rig and listened to a couple of songs.Sounded good . Listened to Dunu Zen I broke in last week. To sound better than OG Zen, Pro had to sound good to begin with, before break in. OG is a damn good IEM by itself. Will listen to pro Friday to hear how its doing.
     
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  20. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    The Shanling M6 Pro AKM version sounds really good with the Zen Pro. I've got one on loan from a kind SBAF'er right now. It powers them really well, good control over the drivers, resolution is great, and the tonal balance is perfect IME so far.

    I've also discovered that the Monoprice Liquid Gold X is quiet enough for the Zen Pro even run balanced using a 4 pin XLR -> 2.5mm adapter from Drop. That also sounds really good, a bit better technically than the M6 Pro AKM, but I think the M6 Pro AKM has better tonal synergy.

    Surprisingly even though my LauX is hooked up to a Yggdrasil A2, the resolution isn't that different between the two. I think we're hitting the resolution limits of the driver here. The Yggdrasil -> LauX definitely sounds a bit better technically, but not as much as you'd think.

    Definitely a recommended combo and the M6 Pro AKM is on sale at Hifi-go right now.
     
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